The real danger about those hidden sugars

Sugar may enhance taste, but it offers no nutritional value and only increases calories

By Jack Wheeler

Red Deer Express

Don’t let hidden sugars slow your weight-loss efforts.

Everyone knows there’s sugar in candies, cookies, cakes and soda. But did you know that nearly every processed and packaged food contains added sugars?

Sugar may enhance taste, but it offers no nutritional value and only increases calories.

Reducing the amount of sugar in your diet is one relatively painless path to weight loss.

But to make it happen, you’ve got to be vigilant about the sugars hiding in the foods you eat. Listed in the ingredient label on food packaging, you’ll find sugar masquerading under a variety of names, such as high fructose corn syrup, corn syrup, corn sweetener, honey, molasses or any number of words ending in -ose (dextrose, glucose, sucrose, or maltose).

Want to keep your diet from unintentional sabotage? Watch out for the high sugar content hiding in these processed foods.

Salad dressing. You’re trying to eat healthy so you make a salad. Don’t ruin your good intentions by pouring on a high-sugar salad dressing. Sweet options such as French, Catalina, and raspberry vinaigrette may taste yummy, but they come at a price. Just two tablespoons contain up to seven grams of sugar. You’d do better to choose an oil- and vinegar-based dressing.

Barbecue sauce. It tastes sweet and tangy on grilled meat, but it quickly increases your sugar consumption for the day. Barbecue sauce will cost you roughly 13 grams of sugar in just two tablespoons.

And when is two tablespoons enough to satisfy your taste buds? Cut back on calories by preparing your grilled meat with herbs and spices and leave the barbecue sauce on the shelf.

Fruit yogurt. Yogurt can be a great way to get your daily-recommended amounts of protein and calcium, but beware of sweetened yogurt that’s made with fruit or flavorings.

Even the low-fat yogurt varieties will run you 17 to 33 grams of sugar in just eight ounces.

While some of that may be naturally occurring sugars in the dairy and fruit, it’s still piling on calories. No wonder kids love it—it tastes like dessert and has just as much sugar!

Look for yogurt that’s made with reduced sugar. If you want fruit in your yogurt, buy plain yogurt and add your own fresh fruit.

Pasta sauce. You made the right decision to buy whole-grain pasta, but now you’ve got to watch out for the hidden sugars in the sauce. In just half a cup there’s likely six to 12 grams of sugar.

Examine the nutritional labels on various pasta sauces to find one with the least amount of sugar and go light on the sauce.

Oatmeal for breakfast is a healthy way to get your fiber, protein, vitamins and minerals. Unfortunately, many instant packets of oatmeal come with unnecessary amounts of added sugar.

Fruit-flavored varieties are especially high in sugar, containing between 10 and 15 grams per packet. You’d do better to eat plain instant or traditional oatmeal with your own sprinkle of sugar or fruit slices.

Granola bars. Often made with whole-grain oats, granola bars are a convenient pick-me-up snack, but many taste more like candy bars. Guess why? Made with dried fruits, chocolate chips or honey, the sugar content quickly goes up to 11 grams, 12 grams or even higher.

Breakfast cereals. They may be advertised as being ‘high in fiber’ and ‘good for your heart’ and they may contain ‘no added colors or flavors,’ but many breakfast cereals are packed with added sugars.

Before believing it’s a healthy breakfast option for you and your family, check the ingredient label. One cup may contain 10 to 20 grams of sugar.

Cereals made with dried fruit have an extra high amount of sugars. While fruit is healthy, dried fruit contains quite a bit of sugar and calories. So beware!

Spoonful of sugar. How many grams of added sugars should you limit yourself to each day? Men should eat less than 37.5 grams and women less than 25 grams.

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